According to the Economist, Americans believe that women are just as competent as men and that they are equally effective leaders.
The magazine reports:
IN 2015 the promise of gender equality seems closer than ever. A new report by the Pew Research Centre shows that the majority of Americans think women are just as capable of being good political and business leaders as men. They are perceived as indistinguishable from their male peers when it comes to leadership qualities such as intelligence and capacity for innovation. On other qualities—honesty, fairness, compassion and willingness to compromise—many Americans actually judge women as superior.
At first glance, it seems that more and more people have learned the politically correct way to answer survey questions.
None of this considers what choices women would make in living their lives. It does not consider the price that a woman will pay in her personal life if she ascends the corporate hierarchy.
The Economist continues to say that it is thrilled to see “the success of Hillary Clinton.” In truth, no one has been able to explain what precisely she has achieved. It makes more sense to say that her stewardship of American foreign policy was catastrophic. Unless you think that the Arab Spring, the Russian reset, leading from behind in Libya and Benghazi were great successes, the Economist is trafficking in propaganda, not objective evaluation.
Let’s not forget that Mrs. Clinton owes nearly all of her titles to her last name. Besides, how many young women would want her political influence if it meant also having her marriage?
The propagandists will never be satisfied until there are equal numbers of women throughout corporate America, but they do not ask what this would do to women’s lives or to corporate profits.
Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg are convinced that women-run enterprises are better than man-run enterprises, but apparently there are very, very few of them, so we do not know what would happen if all enterprises had an equal number of men and women. And we do not know what would happen to America’s children if they received less maternal attention? If both men and women divided their time between home and work then neither group would really excel in either place.
In a competitive marketplace the man who goes home to do the dishes will most likely lose out to the man whose wife takes charge of the home front. And, the woman who refuses to take responsibility for her home might very well find her marriage threatened by another woman who whispers in her husband's ear one day: If you were my husband, I would never let you change a diaper.
These points seem self-evident. And yet, the Economist blissfully ignores them.
It prefers to live in a world of appearances and prejudices:
According to Pew, the problem is that women still have to do more than men to prove themselves. This finding suggests a troubling assumption—that we still don’t expect women to be able to do what men can do. We allow that it’s possible, but our baseline expectations are that men are more capable. This puts women in the position of having to go above and beyond the standards to which men are held in order to demonstrate their competence.
A pollster might suggest that if survey participants offer two contradictory answers on similar questions, they are hiding their true feelings. While everyone knows to tell pollsters that men and women are equally competent in the workplace, they know from experience that such is not exactly the case.
For example, the polls and the magazine do not explain why most women would rather have male bosses. Is it because they have not seen enough sit-coms with women in charge?
However much everyone thinks men and women are the same, the Economist opines, poll results suggests underlying prejudices:
Research has found that pregnant women are perceived as “less authoritative and more irrational, regardless of their actual performance”. Mothers are often seen as less committed to work than non-mothers. Fathers, meanwhile, are not only viewed as equally competent as men without children, but also significantly more committed to work. As a result, while mothers are often penalised for their family commitments, fathers tend to be “recommended for management training more than men without children.” Researchers describe this phenomenon as a “motherhood penalty” and “fatherhood bonus”. And this is without considering some of the complications of parental leave and child care, which disproportionately affect female workers.
Do you believe that a pregnant woman is more or less authoritative?
As it happens, the Economist is contradicting itself. If a pregnant leader is perceived to be less authoritative, then her ability to lead will surely suffer.
You may have noticed, as the Economist hasn’t, that most men and even most women are instinctively driven to protect pregnant women. There are good biological reasons why people do so. They consider pregnancy to be an incapacitating condition and believe that a pregnant woman is more vulnerable. They behave accordingly.
Is the author of this column suggesting that we should cease to provide special consideration and special protection for pregnant women, thus, to let them fend for themselves?
If pregnancy and childbirth were merely ginned up by the patriarchy to keep women out of the boardroom, this assumes that women want to spend less time with their children, even to abandon them to others, in order to occupy a precious seat in the boardroom.
If we are not going to abolish the special consideration that defines maternity leave should we now force men to take paternity leave? Do you think that women would be happy to abandon a helpless infant in order to put in some extra time on that marketing plan? If paternity leave is not mandatory then most men will quickly understand that spending more time on the job and giving more attention to it will give them a competitive advantage over women employees.
And this without even mentioning the point of my previous post: that women have been shown to be more emotionally sensitive than men. This might mean that women are more suited to care for young children.
Unfortunately, and to my surprise, the Economist has no interest in reality. It does not care whether the way people see men and women might have something to do with reality.
More than anything, it believes in appearances. One should note that the belief in appearances and the failure to get in touch with reality is characteristic of Platonic thought.
The magazine is puzzled because so many of those who have been indoctrinated in feminist thinking still refuse to act accordingly. Apparently, reality is more recalcitrant than it imagines.
For all we know, gender disparity is not really a problem. It is only a problem when judged against someone’s ideology.
The Economist thinks it’s a problem and doesn’t want to abandon the ideology. So it explains away the failure to live the ideology by noting that we are not living the idea because we do not see enough women leaders. It sees the problem lying in appearances.
On might note that when Congress investigated the botched Obamacare rollout a couple of years ago nearly all of those in leadership positions were women.
You can say that sexism prevented them from doing a better job, but this draws you dangerously close to saying that women are never responsible for doing a bad job.
Strangely, the magazine suggests that it’s a uniquely American problem. Actually, it’s human history with a few conspicuous exceptions that has failed to live up to its ideology:
Viscerally, Americans resist letting femininity and power go hand-in-hand; a female leader still strikes us as unnatural on an emotional level. At the end of the day, we simply lack enough compelling models for what female power should look like. This should change as more women manage to break into leadership roles. Soon, perhaps, a powerful woman won’t appear threatening or aspirational, but simply normal.
Compelling models of female power—like Hillary Clinton.
But, how many of the women who emulate Hillary Clinton or who want to rise up the corporate hierarchy are interested in enhancing their “femininity.” Didn’t Betty Friedan teach women that femininity is the road to victimhood?
One must note that the magazine does not mention the name of the greatest female political leader in British history: Margaret Thatcher.
Could it be because Thatcher understood herself to be an anomaly? A happy anomaly, of course, but one who found that her ability to lead was enhanced by her surrounding herself entirely with men.